How to be an office all-star
Major League Baseball’s all-star game takes over San Diego’s Petco Park tonight, and the Toronto Blue Jays will be well represented, with Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Saunders and Aaron Sanchez all featuring.
What if your company had an all-star game? Would you make the cut?
Here are some tips on how to be an office all-star:
Be the nice guy
You’ve no doubt heard that nice guys finish last, and movies about the corporate world certainly drive that point home (Glengarry Glen Ross’ “Always be Closing” speech has become a kind of sales mantra after all, and that features this gem: “Nice guy? I don’t give a s–t. Good father? F–k you. Go home and play with your kids! You wanna work here? Close!). But relentlessly trying to get ahead – at the expense of others – can also backfire, especially when you work in smaller companies.
To counteract this aggressive careerism (and to stand out in the crowd), be the nice guy. Support and encourage your teammates and co-workers, offering your expertise, knowledge and skills – without looking to get something in return. You might think that this hurts your chances of success, but it actually helps you in the long run, giving you allies (and good references) who will be happy to return the favour in the future.
See here for more on why nice guys come out on top.
Don’t hog the spotlight
If there’s something to learn from Hollywood award shows, it’s that there’s always a long list of people to thank. By all means, accept credit when you’ve done the work, but always praise those who helped you get there. This can be a quick “thank you” in private, or an email to the entire company acknowledging your team – either way, it’s an easy, quick gesture that goes a long way towards making those around you feel like you appreciate them and their work. It also signals to them that you can be trusted, and that you won’t throw them under the bus for a chance at career advancement.
We can’t all be the league’s home run leader. So how do you stand out when Jimmy from accounting keeps hitting them out of the metaphorically park? Be reliable. Sure, it might not be as sexy as rounding the bases to a standing ovation, but there’s a lot to be said for someone that quietly and consistently turns in quality work, day in, day out. If you add punctuality and respect for deadlines, you will, over time, build a reputation for reliability that will make you a valued member of your team and office.
Be a go-getter
If you really want to become an office all-star, look for opportunities to go above and beyond your job duties. Organizing and starting projects, and taking responsibility for their success (and potential failure), is the easiest way to set yourself apart. Best of all? If these projects somehow involve bettering the company and team as a whole (e.g. a team-building event for charity), you’ll have managed the toughest trick of all: standing out among the crowd while also looking like a team player.
Show that you care
In offices and sports, data is truly everything these days. And while it’s essential for tracking performance and implementing strategies, there is something that it lacks: passion. Sure, it sounds clichéd, but who would you rather work with? A robot that does everything by the numbers, or someone that shows a bit of passion and excitement for their work and industry?
To become a true office all-star, you need to really show that you care. How? By maintaining a positive and supportive attitude, and by constantly trying to become a better employee and co-worker. Where possible, seek out training opportunities available through your company, and look for industry conferences and events.